The first phase of voting for the 2019 General elections begins on Thursday with voters from 91 out of the 543 constituencies spread across 20 States and Union Territories set to choose their parliamentarians.
Elections are being held in a single phase in 20 States including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Lakshadweep.
Assembly elections for Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim are also being held today.
Here are the live updates:
9.34 a.m. | Voting percentages
As of 9 a.m., these are the poll percentages in different States:
Uttarakhand – 13.34%
Bihar – 5%
Meghalaya – 20.41%
(Average northeast poll percent: 11%)
9.20 a.m. | Bihar
As of 9 a.m., Bihar registered a voting percentage of five percentage from four constituencies. In Nawada and Jamui, the poll percentage is at 3% while in Gaya and Aurangabad it’s at 11% and 5% respectively.
In Tripura, voting has been stopped at polling station number 9 under 6-Agartala Assembly Constituency due to EVM malfunction. Voters at St. Joseph School in Greater Noida also complained of faulty EVMs.
9:05 a.m. | Visakhapatnam
Will Vizag LS seat break the jinx of low voter turnout this time?
The Visakhapatnam Parliamentary constituency, despite being the biggest constituency in terms of size and electorate in the State, has always seen the lowest turnout.
In 2014 elections, the voter turnout was put at 67.5%, the lowest when compared to the same in 25 Lok Sabha constituencies in Andhra Pradesh. Of the total 17.23 lakh voters, only 11.63 lakh walked to the polling booths to exercise their franchise. The figures in the previous elections were also not encouraging. In 2004 general elections, only 63.75% of the total voters cast their votes while the number went up to 72.95% in 2009.
Figures say it all
According to a survey conducted by Delhi-based Insight Political Strategists and Workforce (IPSW), a political startup, the voter turnout has always been low in Visakhapatnam. Citing the figures of 2014 elections, the survey report suggests that 10 of the total 25 parliamentary constituencies in the State such as Amalapuram, Anakapalle, Bapatla, Chittoor, Eluru, Narsapuram and Rajahmundry recorded a voter turnout of more than 80%. The Bapatla constituency recorded a poll percentage as high as 85 followed by Narsaraopet (84.6%), IPSW founder chairman Jaivarda said.
8.40 a.m. | Telangana
Polling peaceful in Telangana
Polling started peacefully in 16 of the 17 Lok Sabha constituencies across Telangana at 7 am.
Voting will start in Nizamabad at 8 am after completion of mock polling. The constituency has a record 185 contestants and the Election Commission is conducting polls through EVMs for such large number of candidates.
As many as 443 candidates are in the fray in 17 constituencies and 2.96 crore voters are expected to exercise their franchise in the elections through 34,604 polling stations. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and his wife are expected to exercise their franchise at Chintamadaka in Gajwel around 10.30 am.
Reports from the districts indicated that polling at two polling booths in Tara Degree College, Sangareddy was delayed by 20 minutes as error occurred in EVMs.
8.40 a.m. | West Bengal
One arrested in West Bengal
In a constituency in Mathabhanga in Cooch Behar, Trinamool Congress members complained that they were “attacked” by the BJP. Police have arrested one person.
John Barla — BJP Candidate in Alipurduar — says, “No central forces in sensitive booths and therefore huge rigging is on in various booths in Tufanganj block. We have informed the Election Commission.” Nearly 90 companies of central police have been posted in two constituencies.
Rabindranath Ghosh — Trinamool Minister and the party’s poll coordinator in Cooch Behar — says, “I am sensing conspiracy as I am being informed from many booths now that EVMs are not working. This has not happened before…we are informing the Election Commission.”
8.40 a.m. | Jammu and Kashmir
9 candidates in the fray in J&K
Men and women are converging in batches on the polling booths, as voting picks up on a slow note in Kashmir’s Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency on Thursday. Fazi Jan, a housewife and a resident of Handwara’s Hirpora, queued up outside the Handwara Boys Higher Secondary around 7.30 a.m.
“I have come to vote for the party I am loyal to for 30 years. I hope the one I elect ensures jobs for my family,” she said. According to Chief Electoral Officer, 13,17,738 voters, including 676057 males and 636059 females, will cast their votes in the Lok Sabha constituency, comprising 15 assembly segments and three districts of Kupwara, Baramulla and Bandipora.
A total of nine candidates are in the fray. National Conference’s Muhammad Akbar Lone, Peoples Conference’s Raja Ejaz Ali, Peoples Democratic Party’s Abdul Qayoom and independent Engineer Rashid are the top contenders.
A multi-tier security cover has been set up for 1,749 polling booth in Baramulla. Separatist amalgam, Joint Resistance Leadership, has called for a poll boycott.
8.20 a.m. | Northeast
Bird’s eye view of the northeastern States voting today
Seats: 5 (LS, Dibrugarh, Kaliabor, Lakhimpur, Jorhat, Tezpur)
Total candidates: 41 (11 in Lakhimpur, 8 each in Jorhat and Dibrugarh, 7 each in Tezpur and Kaliabor)
Polling stations: 9,574
Total voters: 7,603,458 (Male 3,865,334, Female 3,737,970, Third 154)
Seats: 2 (LS, Arunachal West and Aruanchal East) and 57* (Assembly)
Total candidates: 12 (LS) and 181 (Assembly)
Polling stations: 2,202
Total voters: 794,162 (Male 392,561, Female 401,601)
(*3 seats were won by BJP unopposed)
Seats: 1 (LS, Outer Manipur)
Total candidates: 8
Polling stations: 1,562
Total voters: 1,010,618 (Male 495,583, Female 515,022, Third 13)
Seats: Two Lok Sabha seats in Shillong and Tura, and 1 bypoll for Selsella Assembly seat
Total candidates: 9 (LS) and 4 (Assembly)
Polling stations: 3,167
Total voters: 1,914,795 (Male 949,621, Female 956,174)
Seats: One Lok Sabha seat in Mizoram and 1 bypoll for Aizawl West-I Assembly seat
Total candidates: 6 (LS) and 3 (Assembly)
Polling stations: 1,175
Total voters: 787,777 (Male 383,603, Female 404,169, Third 5)
Seats: One Lok Sabha seat in Nagaland and one bypoll for Aonglenden Assembly seat
Total candidates: 4 (LS) and 2 (Assembly)
Polling stations: 2,227
Total voters: 1,213,777 (Male 615,274, Female 598,503)
Seats: One Lok Sabha seat in Sikkim) and 32 Assembly seats
Total candidates: 11 (LS) and 150 (Assembly)
Polling stations: 567
Total voters: 432,306 (Male 220,305, Female 212,001)
Seats: One Lok Sabha seat in Tripura West
Total candidates: 13
Polling stations: 1,679
Total voters: 1,347,381 (Male 530,956, Female 665,327, Third: 10)
8 a.m. | Arunachal Pradesh
14 seats across 8 northeastern States go to polls
Polling began at 7 a.m. for 14 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats across the eight northeastern States, 57 of 60 Assembly seats in Arunachal Pradesh, 32 Assembly seats in Sikkim, and bypolls to an Assembly seat each in Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland.
Voting will be held till 5 p.m. in all the seats except for Outer Manipur, Nagaland and the two Meghalaya parliamentary seats where the timing is up to 4 p.m. Apart from Assam, Manipur and Tripura, the region has a single-phase election.
Of the 14 Lok Sabha seats, five are in Assam in the first phase, two each in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, and one each in the rest of the Northeastern States.
7.20 a.m. | Bihar
Manjhi v Manjhi in Gaya
The first phase of Lok Sabha polls in Bihar on Thursday is set to be a tough battle between the BJP-led NDA and the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance).
In the 2014 elections, the NDA had won all four seats — Gaya, Jamui (both reserved seats), Nawada and Aurangabad — going to the polls, but this time it appears to be tough for them to retain them.
7.15 a.m. | Uttar Pradesh
8 seats in U.P. go to polls
The stage is set for polling in eight Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, including Gautam Buddh Nagar and Ghaziabad in the National Capital Region, on Thursday amid tight security in the first leg of the seven-phased general election.
Over 10,000 security personnel will secure Noida and Greater Noida even as drone cameras would be deployed for vigilance in Gautam Buddh Nagar. Spread across Noida, Jewar, Dadri, Khurja and Sikandrabad Assembly segments, the constituency has 22.97 lakh voters.
7 a.m. | Andhra Pradesh
Chandrababu Naidu stages sit-in in front of CEO’s office
In an unprecedented move, Chief Minister and TDP president Chandrababu Naidu staged a sit-in in front of Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Gopal Krishna Dwivedi’s office at the Secretariat in Amravati on Wednesday to protest against the “partisan, unilateral and undemocratic” actions of the Election Commission of India (ECI).
After submitting a letter he had written to the ECI listing the partisan actions to the CEO, Mr. Naidu and his partymen squatted on the stairway of the CEO’s office at the Secretariat to register protest against the transfer of civil servants by the ECI.
7 a.m. | Telangana
First General elections in Telangana
Telangana has 17 Lok Sabha seats with K. Kavitha, daughter of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, contesting from Nizamabad against Madhu Yaskhi of the Congress, and sitting MP from Hyderabad and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi contesting the same seat.
Over 2.96 crore voters will exercise their franchise in the 17 seats, 12 of which are general constituencies, three reserved for the Scheduled Castes and two for the Scheduled Tribes. This is the first general election to be held in Telangana since the formation of the State on June 2, 2014. The previous Lok Sabha elections were held on April 30, 2014 — more than a month ahead of the appointed day for bifurcation of the erstwhile united Andhra Pradesh.